Seymour Levov, going by the nickname of 'Swede' in the Jewish community he was born into, was even more of an all-American than Douglas Fairbanks himself. He had just everything an American idol can dream of: not only was the tall muscular young man a high school star athlete but he married a beauty queen named Dawn in the bargain. And as if all this were not enough, Swede later became the successful manager of the glove factory his father had founded, which allowed him to live with his wife in a beautiful house in the New Jersey countryside. Well-mannered, always bright, smiling and positive, conservative but with a liberal edge, what bad could ever happen to him? And yet...this was reckoning without fate and its obnoxious irony, Swede and Dawn's nemesis manifesting itself in the person of Merry, their beloved daughter who in her teens unexpectedly turned into a violent activist. Written by
When Swede and teen Merry talk in her bedroom, the LP cover at the front of a stack of records on the floor changes. See more »
[narrating as WWII era dance music plays]
Let's remember the energy. America had won the war. The depression was over. Sacrifice was over. The upsurge of life was contagious. We celebrated a moment of collective inebriation that we would never know again. Nothing like it in all the years that followed from our childhood until tonight, the 45th reunion of our high school class.
[now walking down a school hallway]
At 30 or 40, a gathering of my old classmates would have been exactly ...
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American Pastoral a fine flashback look at the 60s and how the events of the day affected one upper middle class family. The father is Ewan MacGregor the star athlete who married teen beauty queen Jennifer Connelly and looked like they were heading for the golden future. They're from Newark and MacGregor now manages the family business which is a leather goods factory in Newark. But they move out to the suburbs of Morris County.
First off it's a mixed marriage with Jewish MacGregory marrying a Shiksa in Connelly. They have one child a daughter Dakota Fanning who growing up in the 60s sees what's going on around her and gets into some truly radical politics. Her parents are traditional liberal Democrats.
Something she does makes her a fugitive. The rest of the film is MacGregor and Connelly's agonized family traditions are blown apart. They want to understand their child and want her back. But that can never be.
This film is adapted from a Philip Roth novel and Roth drew his characters well as this was an era he and I both grew up in.
Besides the main characters I would single out Peter Riegert's performance as MacGregor's father and Valerie Curry who has embraced totally Weatherman style radicalism. Her scenes with MacGregor who is trying to find his fugitive daughter just crackle with intensity.
A real portrait of an era in America we're still trying to understand.
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